my summer vegetable anti-anxiety soup

Posted on February 12th, 2013

I was born anxious. I’ve fretted for as long as I remember. I worried for one and all. Some days it cripples me and I have to disappear for a while. Others, I am able to accept it as part of my character. These days, though, I manage it better. I know what works. What to do when things build up. I’m philosophical about it. And I don’t apologise for it anymore. Those around me get some good kickbacks for being a mate with a worrywart. Like, um, never being kept waiting. And not having to navigate, pack, plan or negotiate when travelling with me.

Recipe is below

Recipe is below

Yes, so. I manage my anxiety.

And, so. Last week I was at my Chinese doctor getting needled. I’m able to direct her now to the spots that need a-needling. I pointed her to a spot at the top of the shin, just on the outside of the shin, about an inch below the knee joint.

She laughed. “Ah, yes. The chicken soup point.”

She explained: “This point, it does the same thing that chicken soup does when you drink it.” Which is what? “It nourishes your whole body in one go. That’s what chicken soup does.” She makes chicken soup every week and feeds it to her sons to keep them healthy. They get chicken soup for afternoon tea.

The chicken soup point. Feel it on your own leg now, if you can. Press into it. Does it feel sensitive? That kind of “painful” that feels better when activated? I describe this kind of release as “juicy”. And can you see that this kind of almost-orgasmic release is also experienced when you eat something truly nourishing?  OK. Well, I do.

Anyway. My anxiety. When I’m anxious, I eat chicken soup. I make a big batch of chicken stock – the recipe is here – and freeze it in single-serve portions (in old jars and vitamin bottles).

I have it on it’s own, as an afternoon tea snack when I’m jittery and would normally grab for stimulants (chocolate, tea etc).

How does chicken soup helps anxiety?

Chicken soup is for the soul, it fixes colds, it’s the meal brought to the infirm, it saves lives. I can personally attest to the fact that the stuff is calming. Even the act of eating it – with a spoon, slowly – is calming. Some say it’s more effective than Tylenol as a relaxant. It works like this: the collagen released when you cook chicken bones (in particular) for hours – preferably 24 – feeds, repairs, and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. Our gut is our second brain. Our gut is integral to our entire nervous systems.  Calm the gut, you calm your brain and body. Got it?

I made a batch last week. I used chicken bones this time, instead of a whole chicken. The bones cost $4 for 1.2kg bag from urbanfoodmarket – a super cheap way to do it if you don’t want the chicken meat as well. And during the week I made this super simple soup. I like it’s elegance and simplicity. I drank it calmly, because it was a pretty thing to drink. I had respect for it. And, thus, myself. If you know what I mean…

Summer vegetable anti-anxiety soup

  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 asparagus stems, cut into 1cm lengths, or some frozen peas
  • A handful of fresh herbs, chopped (parsley is particularly  good for “imparting additional mineral ions to the broth”, says Sally Fallon)

Bring the broth to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the vegetables. Cook for one minute, stir through the herbs and serve with a crush of black pepper. Sip slowly.

Interested in the topic? Feel free to read more about the health benefits of chicken soup here, and about why you should eat bone broth here. Also, read about broth’s longevity connection here.

Also, I just read something Chris Kresser posted about fears that broth can contain lead…he dispels the concern, BTW! But do bear in mind: ALWAYS use organic AND pasture-fed meat when making stock. You’re leaching out stuff from the bones…you don’t want chemicals or grain-caused toxins in your soup!

Inspired to cook up some bones??

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  • Ms Jane

    I know that point!! I love it and hate it. I know the needle’s going in, my palms get all sweaty and then it’s just like a big breath out…

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    orgasmic!!

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  • Ian

    Can SW Enterprises start selling this so I can buy some please?

    Fellow born-anxious individual. Ian

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Then you can call me the Soup Nazi!

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  • Claire

    Another anxious person here! However, my anxiety also makes me overheat. I get anxious/nervous and it leads to feeling too hot and breaking out in red blotches on my face and neck. The idea of a hot soup to ‘calm me down’? I think it would have the opposite affect!

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    Fiona Reply:

    Hello Claire
    I’m an anxious type too and while I don’t have a problem with hot (temperature) food and drinks I also run very hot. I find green smoothies with kale or other green leaves, lemon juice, mint, a dissolved solution of spirulina-clorella and some fruit cooling and so soothing for my ‘nerves’. Calming and energising too. Just thought I’d mention it in case it’s helpful.

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    Claire Reply:

    Thank you Fiona – I will definitely give this a go!

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  • Victoria

    Hi Sarah.I’m into week three of IQS,but am really struggling with meals I can eat.I think I need a weekly meal planner?.I keep referring back to book,but can’t find what meals I can have.Is it possible you can help?Thanks,Victoria.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Well, stay tuned….such a thing will be coming soon!

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    Fi Reply:

    Yay!

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  • Joel

    Sarah so much of what you write sounds like you could have pulled it out of my own head! Thank you for being so inspiring and for regularly giving me the courage to keep moving forward in life rather than retreating into an anxious mess.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    my pleasure…perhaps we all are in each other’s head…

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    Heather Reply:

    Oh, I like that sentiment Sarah. Perhaps we are…such a comforting thought that makes a lot of sense to me.

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  • Charmaine

    Sounds delicious!! Thank you. I find the act of cooking nutritious food in itself calms my anxiety, actually sitting down to read your blog is like chicken soup like too:)

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  • Kit

    Hey Sarah –

    Firstly, congratulations on the success of the IQS program – you should be very proud of the work you are doing to raise the profile of quitting sugar !

    I’m really keen to give broth a go, it seems to have such wonderful properties. To make chicken broth, is it exactly the same as how you make your beef broth, and can it be used in the same way(s) or are there differences we need to be aware of ?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    slightly different…go by the recipe I link to in the post to my chicken stock recipe….and just use bones instead of a whole bird

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  • http://www.deirdreriordanhall.com Deirdre

    Hi Sarah,
    Like so many of the comments above, your work, blog, book, and general outlook has lifted me out of a slump (major understatement) these past couple months. So firstly, thank you. To take it a step further, to read that you also experience anxiety makes me feel like I found my tribe (trust me I’d rather we all fixated on oh, I dunno, saving elephants or something similarly altruistic rather than sugar addiction and anxiety, though I suppose saving ourselves is a pretty good cause) so I extend another hug of gratitude and relief that I’m not the only one and there are so many people (readers/commenters) that are on this path of wellness. I hope you share more about the ways you manage anxiety and how eliminating sugar has helped you.

    Also- for vegetarians, any suggestions to gain the magic of chicken soup sans the chicken broth?

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  • Peggy

    Oh AMEN! Anxiety is sooo not fun! My problem is when I am anxious I go for food to calm me down – BADDD food… Its a catch 20! When I am calm I only eat good food! :(

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    Peggy Reply:

    catch 22*

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  • http://www.poemsandnovels.blogspot.com maggie may

    i’ll always read about anxiety and fear. learning to live with it better.

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  • Samantha

    I think my anxiety-riddled self led me here instinctively.

    I would love to start cooking up some bone broth and indulge in a gorgeous chicken soup, but it took me till 2pm to psych myself up just to go to the supermarket. Hopefully it’s something I’ll manage later in the week.

    Instead, I’ll just keep pushing that sweet knee spot!

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  • Kit

    Thanks Sarah (and your mum !)

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  • Nicole

    Hi Sarah
    I suffer from anxiety too, have done every since I was little. I really admire your honesty throughout your blog and especially in posts like this one. I will definitely give this soup a go. Thank you for sharing :)

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  • http://www.thewhimsicalwife.com Melissa

    *sigh* so very true, from an anxious, overtired mumma! I think I will make that for lunch today!

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  • tracy

    Hi Sarah
    Yep, I’m with you on the anxiety personality! Diet (and exercise, enough sleep etc) helps amazingly. I make what I call ‘Stoup” – halfway between soup and stew. Stock, chicken and veggies/ veggies and chicken and stock, a new batch every Sunday afternoon. Works a treat! I hope your advice helps our fellow anxieters!

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  • Sarah

    Love the sound of the soup but I am vegetarian so can’t do the chicken broth! Any suggestions?

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  • Kellie

    LOL…I go to Vietnam all the time and my “Vietnamese Mother” cooks me a similar version and has told me for years it is the ultimate cure all. The first time she suggested it on a 35 degree, 80% humidity day I almost fell over with shock :) but now during my yearly pilgrimage I tuck in every time it is put on the table! I suffer anxiety (mildly bi-polar also) and along with yoga, clean eating and “returning to my breathing” I think I do OK. And yes, people love to travel with me as I do the organizing down to the last detail – my emails on the subject are the joke of family dinners! xoxo

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  • http://www.cakesamour.com.au Krysten

    I had to take a break right now from work for fear of losing control and not making my deadline. I am also a ‘stress-head’. My husband lately said that I’m “just not blahzay about anything” – he’s right, and it’s hard to live with.
    Anyway, I have a freezer full of chicken stock thanks to your book, and I’m not affraid to use it.
    Thank you Sarah for always providing a breathe of relatable fresh air. xo

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  • http://www.inclusivelearning.com.au Tanya

    Hi Sarah,

    I love, love your blog – thanks for all of the wisdom and inspiration you so generously share.

    I too, am learning to manage my anxiety – have decided that it’s part of my highly sensitive make up and am embracing the joys, gifts and challenges this can bring.

    Thouht you may enjoy the work of Sheryl Paul at Conscious Transitions (http://conscious-transitions.com/blog/) – her writings and teaching reminds me of yours. She offers great insights about managing anxiety, finding peace and loving your sensitivity!

    Best wishes,
    Tanya

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  • http://whereissarah.wordpress.com Sarah

    Fascinating. That exact point on my shin has been sensitive all this past week. Last night I made some chicken broth just for the heck of it. Thanks for drawing it all together!

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  • http://www.kidsactivitiesandtipsforeveryday.blogspot.com.au/ Kate

    Hi Sarah,
    I think this looks amazing and I have just discovered your blog and am LOVING it, Ive spent hours looking through everything and have purchased your book and cant wait for its arrival. I went through my cupboard this evening and removed any and every product with over 10g sugar per 100g. Just to start until your book arrives. Now half my pantry is gone. But I feel happy.
    I just have two important questions…..
    1) Im 16 weeks pregnant, is that ok to still follow the 8 week program?
    2) I have a 21month old and 3 year old and want to eliminate nearly all sugar from their diets, is this ok at their age?
    Thank you for your time.
    Regards
    Kate

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  • http://www.kidsactivitiesandtipsforeveryday.blogspot.com.au/ Kate

    Do any readers know if this program is ok to follow while pregnant? Thanks

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  • Sarah

    Hey Sarah,

    LOVE your book and so far it has done wonders for my mind, body and soul! I am so excited for your next I Quit Sugar edition. I just have a question about frozen veggies. I have par-cooked and frozen a lot of the veggies I like to use but when I attempt to steam or cook them they always go soggy… especially broccoli! Do you have any tips for me?

    Thanks!!

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